Tucked within the Bukit Timah Saddle Club is this unpretentious, homely café – Riders Café – that allows you to soak in the tranquillity and take in the sights of nature (both the trees and the horses!).  The last time I have been was probably a decade ago and I recall it being slightly different.  This time, I made a visit in the evening and it’s a completely different experience.  During the day it boasts brunch food and is family friendly.  In the evening, it serves contemporary comfort food in a space that exudes a lovely old world charm, perfect for a date or just catching up with friends.  Indeed, I visited on a weekday and found it so easy to unwind after a day of work.
But of course, I should also talk about the food that it has to offer.

First up, we had the Impossible Meat Kebabs (S$15) which were served with a side of spicy house-made peanut sauce with hints of lemongrass and kaffir leaves.
A second side that we shared was the Kabocha & Kale (S$23) – one of my favourite dishes for the night!  Might seem daunting to the non-veggies lovers, but this substantial looking dish is autumn on a plate.  It highlights the tasty Japanese squash with fluffy texture and sweet notes.  The kabocha is oven roasted till soft and creamy and the skin is charred but still edible.  It is also accompanied with fresh zesty tabbouleh (a Levantine salad made from finely chopped kale, mint, parsley, tomato, onion and grains) with added pomegranate to give it that additional texture.  Riders then finish it off with housemade Miso Tahini.  This dish is a definite must-order for vegans and also enough “distractions” to convert the non-veggies to try something out of their comfort zone.
Jan, the owner of Riders, then introduced us to Seafood Cioppino (S$28).  An Italian-American dish with origins from San Francisco, this hearty seafood stew of shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels and crab meat is a sharing dish.  It is also served with garlic flatbread that is sourced from New Zealand.  Having used seafood and fish in their other dishes, the bones/shells are then used in this broth so that the flavour is richer. The tanginess from the tomatoes would also whet your appetite.  Do note that this dish is only available on Fridays to Sundays.
We also tried a special – Crispy Skin Branzino with Lemon and Caper Butter (S$26).  A sauce made of butter, lemon juice, capers, citrus fruits and pineapple is spooned over the pan-seared European seabass and served on a bed of roasted potatoes and fine beans.  The fish was fresh and this was well-executed, but a safe choice, not too experimental.
The conchiglie beef short rib ragu (S$23) on the other hand, stood out more because it was a more hearty and satisfying dish to have.  Beef short rib is braised for hours till fork tender in ragu and easily mopped up in the shell-shaped Conchiglie pasta and topped off with a dollop of mascarpone cream for added creaminess.  Sinful, but comforting. 
Moving onto desserts, we tried the coconut food cake with coconut milk ice cream drizzled with Gula Melaka (S$10).  I have a sweet tooth so this hits the spot with fragrant coconut notes.
My dining companions preferred the Summer Eton Mess, which is a homemade meringue topped with passion fruit curd, whipped coconut crème and summer fruits.
All in all, we will be back to try their brunch menu and take in the sights.  It also helps that this place is fairly hidden so you do get to escape from the city’s hustle and bustle for a while. 
Budget: S$25 – S$35 per person
  • Riders Cafe

  • Phone
    +65 6466 9819
  • Address
    51 Fairways Dr, Singapore 286965
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